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Friday, December 2, 2011

Decorating the Christmas Tree Gave Me the Warm Fuzzies

Last year I did a blog post titled "Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus... Which Holiday do You Celebrate?" all about how I enjoy helping others celebrate holidays based on their religions and beliefs as much as I enjoy celebrating the one I was raised with.

I think I was 3 years old in this Christmas picture.

I was raised with Christmas. The kind with presents under the tree, a Sunday School play with costumes where we would all dress up and sing beautiful Christmas songs at church and people would tell each other "Merry Christmas" without a second thought that it was the proper thing to do.

I didn't deck the halls but I did decorate my tree yesterday!

But for the past few years my Christmas' haven't been all that merry because I hadn't bothered to put up a proper Christmas tree. I've drug it out of the garage a few years and hung just a handful of new ornaments people had given me on it but hadn't gone all out. Maybe I was just being lazy, or maybe it's because hubby says he hates Christmas. . . Hates the tree, hates the decorations, hates the music, he hates all of the traditional things that most people love.

The brown paper grocery bags hung near the chimney with care. . .

Here's a great example of my first geeky Christmas with hubby. Instead of stockings (which I had) he insisted on using grocery bags. Is it any wonder I hadn't felt like getting into the holiday spirit? Or maybe it wasn't because of hubby. Maybe I just felt a bit despondent because of all of the controversy about saying the words "Merry Christmas" in the news. Or maybe it was all of the above.

But this year I decided to be different. I brought out my fake tree, set it up on a table where the cat and dog can't get to it and hung my ornaments. WOW. It was more fun than I thought it would be. Not just the act of hanging the decorations, but remembering where many of them came from. Some, like this De Sela paper maché lion, was from my early childhood. As I took it out of its box I felt the flood of memories come rushing back. And they made me smile.

Just holding this De Sela paper maché horse made me feel some of my lost holiday joy once again. I've loved horses for as long as I can remember and this little green horse was always one of my favorites to hang.

The ornaments from my childhood reminded me of white Christmases, the crystal clear icicles hanging on the eve of the house I grew up in that sparkled against a bright blue sky, our old living room with the green couch, strands of the big-bulb, old-fashioned tree lights that are retro now, hanging silver tinsel one strand at a time from the thin flat box with just a slight opening at the top to keep it all from spilling and even some of the gifts I received as a child. It was a really neat moment and I vowed never again to opt out of properly decorating a tree at Christmas.

Other decorations, like this multi-colored, glass bead garland, reminded me of when I moved out of my parent's home and started keeping Christmas on my own. I can still remember buying not only the garland but boxes of the glass icicles when I went after Christmas shopping with my mom one year. They are the last two things I put on the tree and are the perfect finishing touches.

And now there are new ornaments to add like this Mouse King that I bought when I attended The Nutcracker Ballet for the first time last year. I did a blog post about it titled "Is Your Child Ready for The Nutcracker?" where I share my impressions based on attending a family viewing with lots and lots of little kids. Some had a great time, some were bored stiff and others were bored to the point of going stir crazy. Age was irrelevant. It was all about each individual child's level of interest in being there.

Whatever holiday you celebrate I hope you find your holiday spirit and enjoy any and all of the holiday greetings people offer you. If you want to wish all of your friends a happy holiday this year here are the official dates you'll need to know:

Festivus - December 23, 2011

Christmas - December 25, 2011

Kwanza - December 26, 2011 - January 1, 2012

Hanukah - December 20-28, 2011

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